Baby development at 39 weeks pregnant
Your baby is officially full term! If labor were to begin today, no special precautions would be taken, provided your third trimester is without complications.
If you’re extremely typical, your baby is likely between 18 and 20 inches long and weighs around 7.2 pounds. This is about the size of a small pumpkin!
Lots of developments are still happening as your baby gets ready for their debut. Your baby’s brain and little lungs are still developing and will continue to mature after birth. The bones in your baby’s skull are ready to shift under and over one another to protect the brain as they move through the birth canal. In these last few weeks, your baby receives most of the antibodies you’ll pass along to help develop their immune system.
Week 39 pregnant belly
You may wonder if the size of your bump is related to the size of your baby. While it’s true that the bump wouldn’t be there without a baby of some size, no one — not even your obstetrician — can estimate the size of your baby by simply looking at you.
The shape your abdomen takes on in pregnancy has more to do with your height, whether you were in solid physical shape prior to pregnancy, whether you’ve carried a baby previously and the amount of amniotic fluid in your womb.
Common pregnancy symptoms at 39 weeks
With less physical space to maneuver, your baby’s movements are likely to be less athletic than they were in previous weeks, but they should still move regularly. If you want to nudge your little one into activity, tried and true methods include lounging or resting after physical activity, eating a spicy meal, drinking a very cold beverage, shining a flashlight over your abdomen or monitoring when a fetus is typically active, which is between 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.
- Discomfort: The larger your little one gets, the more challenging it may be to find a comfortable position to sit, sleep, stand or otherwise exist. You may be feeling fairly uncomfortable in your own body by week 38. Help yourself feel as comfortable as possible by remembering to stretch and wearing loose, cozy clothing.
- Cervix changes: Your cervix is softening, shortening and beginning to open.
- Light bleeding: As labor approaches, the mucus plug that has blocked the cervix to keep your uterus safe may now come unsealed. A small amount of bleeding is common, but it may not be enough to notice.
- The waddle: As your pelvis spreads, you may notice that your gait changes from a standard walk to the distinctive pregnancy waddle.
- Sciatica: Your uterus may literally be getting on your nerves. If you experience shooting pain, numbness or tingling that radiates from your low back, through your buttocks and down through your one or both of your thighs, it may be sciatica. Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve is irritated or compressed.
Pregnancy checklist at 39 weeks pregnant
You’re almost there! A term pregnancy is considered anytime between 37 weeks (early term) and 42 weeks (late term). At 39 weeks, you are officially full term!
- Get an estimate on your baby’s weight. Your obstetrician may have given you an estimate of your baby’s weight, but the scale may give a slightly different number once your newborn is placed on it. A healthy birth weight can range anywhere from 5.5 to 10 pounds.
- Address your baby’s position. If you’re one of the 3% to 4% of women with a baby still in breech position at this stage, your obstetrician may give you the option to have an external cephalic version (ECV). In this procedure, the practitioner applies pressure to parts of your abdomen to coax the baby to move into a head-first position. It may not be recommended if it’s not safe, and the procedure should be done only in a hospital. Do not try this at home!
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